With the recent completion of our new building addition and the two-month sabbatical of our minister, much change is in our midst at People’s Church. One thing that is quite apparent is the increase in visitors and newcomers to our church. Every Sunday, new people are making their way through our doors and many of them are finding a home within our liberal faith tradition and are staying to join our congregation.
Unitarian Universalism has so much to offer the world today in terms of encouraging more love, peace and justice in our own hearts as well as the larger world. My favorite UU bumper sticker says, “Nurture Your Spirit. Help Heal Our World.” I think this is a great summary of what this faith has to offer. Because of this, I think it is very important to ensure everyone who makes their way to our door feel welcome and accepted into our church. In order to have a culture of hospitality at People’s Church, it is important for everyone to be as welcoming as possible to those around them. Of course, we are drawn to talk to our friends on Sunday mornings, but I also encourage each one of us to step outside of our comfort zones and introduce ourselves to someone we don’t know every week.
If you are not sure what to say to someone new, you could ask them how they found out about People’s Church or whether they are familiar with Unitarian Universalism or not. Maybe you could share something you most value about UUism and coming to People’s. Be careful to avoid using acronyms such as RE or YRUU. Little efforts like this can help new people feel accepted and welcomed. Right now we have a large number of folks who have joined us over the past year who are ready to get involved in varying degrees. How can we help newcomers find ways to match their talents with the opportunities we have available? Let’s remember to think of them when a task is at hand where people can get to know one another better by working alongside each other such as in the kitchen or with special projects.
We are ALWAYS in need of greeters to help welcome people to church on Sunday mornings. If you have time before and after the service and would like to help with this important ministry, please see me or inquire at the information desk. The president of the UUA, Peter Morales, indicates that participating in Sunday morning hospitality can be a spiritual practice. He says that “Hospitality is Love in Action.” The following is a list of ideas from the UUA website of how each of us can be more radically hospitable. I hope that doing some of these will enrich your spirit.
Ways to be Radically Hospitable
1. Bring someone to a Sunday service.
2. Talk with someone you don’t know during coffee hour.
3. Wear your name tag at every Sunday service.
4. Tell return visitors that you’re glad they came back.
5. Intentionally sit beside a visitor at a Sunday service.
6. Practice your response to the question, “What is Unitarian Universalism?”
7. Write an article for a local newspaper about a church project in which you’re involved.
8. Promote your congregation’s rental space to individuals and groups you know.
9. Give a copy of the magazine UU World to a non-member.
10. Attend the UUA General Assembly in Louisville in June.
11. Let non-members know about the wonderful religious education programs you have.
12. Tell someone about a provocative thought you heard at church.